Umberto Gandini, Josep Maria Bartomeu and Gianni Infantino, during the conference in Dubai. / MIGUEL RUIZ - FCB

The president of FC Barcelona this morning, at the 10th edition of the Dubai International Sports Conference, spoke about the great transformation over the last ten years which has seen the club go on to achieve huge success. The president said that "remaining faithful to the values of the club and having respect for the game" was vital to success in recent years.

Josep Maria Bartomeu took part in the main debate of the first day of the conference, a week on from FC Barcelona’s FIFA Club World Cup win in Japan. The victory in the final over River Plate secured the team’s fifth title of the year.

Bartomeu was one of the main figures in the round table titled: “The future of football in the era of globalisation from a European view”. Alongside the president of FC Barcelona in the debate was Prince Ali Bin Hussein, president of the Jordanian Football Association, and Gianni Infantino, UEFA secretary general and FIFA presidential candidate. The round table was moderated by Umberto Gandini, director of AC Milan.

Messi, special guest

The conference had a special guest in attendance, Lionel Messi. The FC Barcelona forward is in Dubai to attend the Globe Soccer Awards gala, where the Argentine is nominated for the best player award. Messi's presence at the conference was received with warm applause by the crowd.

Bartomeu’s presentation was preceded by various images which reflect the global phenomenon of FC Barcelona and its football philosophy which is rooted into the lower age groups.

La Masia is the centre of everything, it is not only a centre for training footballers but a centre for training people”, said Josep Maria Bartomeu. The president of FC Barcelona highlighted that “the motto ‘més que un club’ (more than a club), is not just a phrase, but the reflection of a philosophy based on intense hard work”.

Bartomeu noted Ronaldinho’s influence on FC Barcelona’s success. "He gave us his best game with a smile, and now Messi does the same with his talent," said the president of FC Barcelona before stressing that "the ball is the focal point of all our work. Everything revolves around the ball. We love and respect football," before adding words of praise for Luis Suarez and Neymar Jr.

In his review of what represents FC Barcelona, Bartomeu spoke of the enormous influence of social media and the fact that Barça is the world leader among sports institutions. "This is the result of success, but the work is very complex because everyone wants to win. So we focus on children and how we can teach them respect for the game."

Bartomeu closed by saying: “FC Barcelona has one mission: to make people happy, enjoying football. If the fans enjoy our football, winning or not, this is the most important”.

Big names in attendance

The 10th International Sports Conference of Dubai brought together the main representatives from football’s biggest institutions like FIFA, UEFA, ECA, of the biggest clubs in the world, as well as a large number of directors.

Between today and tomorrow, attendees will include Pierluigi Colina, head of UEFA referees, manager Fabio Capello and players Andrea Pirlo and Frank Lampard, among others.

The objective of this conference is to exchange opinions about the world of football. The conference includes the presentation of the Globe Soccer Awards, where FC Barcelona has been nominated for the categories of best club and best player.

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